Two myths about older adults and addiction — and why Maine should care

on July 28, 2014, at 10:56 a.m.
Substance abuse is a major public health concern in Maine and the United States, affecting more than 23 million people nationwide and 80,091 in the state. Discussions about the substance abuse epidemic have paid little attention to its effects on older adults. As much as 17 percent of older adults …
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage’s move to make food stamp recipients work can prove beneficial — if done right

on July 26, 2014, at 10:40 a.m.
There’s no universal set of American values, but an emphasis on hard work and self-sufficiency is commonly embraced in politics and one that comes into play when the public is considering its support for welfare programs that help the poor. The value underlying the existence of those welfare programs is …
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin

Bruce Poliquin supports the Paul Ryan budget. But what’s actually in it?

on July 25, 2014, at 11:20 a.m.
As U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan shifts his focus away from recommending deep cuts to federal poverty-fighting programs to wholesale restructuring, let’s not forget the budgeting approach the Wisconsin Republican has espoused as chairman of the House Budget Committee. Ryan’s budget blueprint, after all, exemplifies a key difference at stake this …
A patient waits in the hallway for a room to open up in the emergency room at Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston, Texas, in this July 27, 2009 file photo.

A dose of absurdity in the Halbig ruling on Obamacare

on July 24, 2014, at 10:18 a.m.
On Tuesday, a three-judge panel at the U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit issued a flawed ruling that subsidies for health insurance coverage should never have been provided in states with federally run exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. In fact, we could describe the ruling as one based …
A crowd protests proposed deep cuts at the University of Southern Maine on March 24, 2014.

Promising transparency at USM is a good first step for troubled campus’ interim president

on July 23, 2014, at 11:24 a.m.
David Flanagan is stepping into what is perhaps the most thankless job in higher education in Maine. On Monday, he’ll take over as interim president of the University of Southern Maine, taking the helm that follows a year in which a mandate to cut the 9,000-student university’s budget by $14 …
Alan Cunningham of Bangor organizes the thrift shop downstairs at The Together Place in Bangor in February.  Cunningham is in the ReFinement program, which allows people convicted of crimes to pay them back through community service.

It’s time for Maine to break a cruel cycle of poverty and incarceration

on July 22, 2014, at 2:37 p.m.
It’s summer. It’s beautiful outside. And inside Maine jails, inmates sit and bide their time. For many, their crime has nothing to do with violence, theft or dealing drugs. They simply can’t pay their court fines. Their real crime? It’s poverty. Look at the arrest log for any jail in …
Members of the Marshall Ford Swing Band perform outside at Pickering Square in Bangor on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, as part of the annual Outdoor Market and Cool Sounds Free Concert Series.

Bringing Bangor back

on July 20, 2014, at 6:07 a.m.
It’s easy to see the changes happening in downtown Bangor this time of year. There are, of course, Waterfront Concerts, with performers including Willie Nelson and Tim McGraw. Events at Cross Insurance Center are going strong, with acts such as Cirque du Soleil and James Taylor. The free Cool Sounds …
A member of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife's bear study crew holds a hand near the paw of "Big John," a 432-pound black bear that was snared and weighed on June 17, 2014.

Ted Nugent is outspoken, but he doesn’t speak for pro-bear baiting campaign

on July 19, 2014, at 12:34 p.m.
Campaign season is sneaking up — with claws out. And it’s not Maine bears on the prowl. Here is the back story: About 11 months ago, politically incorrect rocker Ted Nugent gave an autographed guitar to the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. But the state’s largest sportsmen’s organization wasn’t quite sure …

LePage is three months late to nursing home funding fix

on July 18, 2014, at 11:14 a.m.
Amid Gov. Paul LePage’s dizzying politicking in recent days, it’s a wonder Maine’s nursing homes actually will see a bump in their reimbursements this fiscal year that nearly equals the amount by which the state underpays them. After challenging Democratic legislative leaders off and on for months to call the …
President Barack Obama looks over his shoulder while driving a simulator at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Virginia, this week.

Detour from disaster: Again, Congress has short fix for roads

on July 17, 2014, at 10:56 a.m.
It took another episode of crisis-driven governing, but it appears as if Congress is on track to avert the would-be disaster of an insolvent Highway Trust Fund. While Congress seemingly has found consensus on a short-term fix, the House and Senate once again have put off the real work of …
Arminda Murillo, 54, reads a leaflet at a health insurance enrollment event in Cudahy, California March 27, 2014.

Obamacare is working. So why repeal it?

on July 16, 2014, at 1:41 p.m.
Those running for office this year and counting on an anti-Obamacare message to propel them to victory are encountering a pitfall they likely didn’t expect last fall as the health care reform law’s online insurance exchange got off to an inept start. That “pitfall” is the law’s success, which is …
Commissioner Joseph Ponte (left) and Gov. Paul LePage (center, seated) were among the state officials who attended an open house at the Maine State Prison in February of 2014.

Horror at Rikers Island and what a former LePage appointee can do about it

on July 15, 2014, at 11:46 a.m.
On Monday, The New York Times published a damning investigative report about the treatment of inmates at the hands of corrections officers at Rikers Island in New York. Over the course of 11 months last year, 129 inmates suffered injuries beyond the capacity of the jail’s doctors to treat in-house …
Robert McDonald, former Procter & Gamble CEO, is the man President Barack Obama has chosen to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Head first into scandal: What awaits the VA’s new chief

on July 14, 2014, at 11:49 a.m.
The problems awaiting Robert McDonald, the man President Barack Obama has chosen to lead the scandal-ridden Department of Veterans Affairs, seem to be mounting before the former Procter & Gamble CEO has even had his Senate confirmation hearing. If confirmed to oversee the VA system that treats 230,000 veterans each …
Dueling tax debate signs stand outside Bangor City Hall in this May 2014 file photo.

Bangor needs open conversation on school spending. It doesn’t need a rule change to get it

on July 12, 2014, at 10:38 a.m.
Our nation is founded on checks and balances and a separation of powers. But how many checks are too many? That’s a question up for debate in Bangor as the city council considers whether it should have authority to raise or lower spending in individual categories of the Bangor schools …
Singer Norah Jones with her 3-month-old baby attends a White House event in honor of military mothers in the East Room and Dining Room of the White House in this May 2014 file photo.

Treat all Maine moms right: Give them the economic security of paid maternity leave

on July 11, 2014, at 11:22 a.m.
Another day, another report on how Maine and the nation can improve. This time, it came from the National Partnership for Women and Families, which pointed out, “The United States is the only highly competitive country that fails to provide paid leave to new mothers.” Ouch. To say the least, …
Portland Mayor Michael Brennan said recently that Portland would not comply with a directive from Gov. Paul LePage to cut General Assistance to refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants.

Municipal group’s intervention is needed to resolve LePage spat over aid for immigrants

on July 10, 2014, at 10:41 a.m.
It goes without saying that Gov. Paul LePage’s attempt to bar the state’s towns and cities from giving out General Assistance to immigrants without legal status puts some of Maine’s newest residents in a bind. The other significant constituency facing a major predicament because of LePage’s efforts? Maine’s towns and …
Dan Keller, a business and economics major at the University of Southern Maine, joins a protest in Portland opposing deep cuts proposed by President Theo Kalikow in this March 2014 file photo.

The problem with letting university leaders leave and keep their pay

on July 09, 2014, at 2:52 p.m.
Again, a major university leader is leaving. Again, she will put aside a difficult job to serve out the rest of her contract in a less contentious position, while still earning her full salary. And again, many Maine residents are left with the feeling they have the worse end of …
Pope Francis waves during his Sunday Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican recently.

Now, Pope Francis needs to act on clergy sexual abuse

on July 08, 2014, at 3:20 p.m.
In the 16 months since he assumed the papacy, Pope Francis has projected an image of humility and open arms to the outside world — especially when compared with the image of the Catholic Church projected by his predecessor. It hasn’t taken much for Pope Francis to make waves. Soon …
The Bangor Police Department posted this photo of its stuffed duck -- "the Duck of Justice" -- to its Facebook page July 7, 2014.

The art of the Bangor PD Facebook post

on July 08, 2014, at 1:45 p.m.
A good Facebook post really is an art. For instance: posting a selfie in front of the rising sun, discussing the word “chucking” (to throw with some force), or giving someone a stuffed duck to hold while you snap a picture and then hit “upload.” For the Bangor Police Department, …
The Blaine House. Augusta, Maine.

Stating the obvious: Why a governor shouldn’t meet with anti-government extremists

on July 07, 2014, at 11:16 a.m.
A governor shouldn’t meet eight times in eight months with an anti-government extremist group that has connections to an entity the FBI considers one of the nation’s top domestic terrorist threats. Shouldn’t that be obvious? But Gov. Paul LePage apparently doesn’t understand a simple concept: As the state’s chief executive, …
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